Röchling Group's (Mannheim, Germany) automotive business will build its seventh U.S. manufacturing site in Akron, OH to support customers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors. Investing "double-digit millions" in the plant, Röchling says the finished campus will include production and storage facilities covering a total of 75,000 ft2. The city of Akron assisted Röchling in site selection, with the new business to be constructed near the Akron Fulton International Airport in the Massillon Road Industrial Park.
Röchling Automotive USA, which has headquarters in Duncan, SC, says it plans to operate the new Ohio facility as a strictly manufacturing location with a lean organizational structure.
Röchling currently supplies systems used by the Chevrolet Cruze Eco and the Ford Focus to reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Once local vehicle production is boosted in 2013, Röchling anticipates that its new facility will employ over 100.
The Cruze is assembled at GM's plant in Lordstown, OH. In February 2010, GM announced that it would add 1200 workers at the site to support a third shift of Cruze production. Lordstown is approximately 40 miles east of Akron. The Focus is assembled at Ford's Avon Lake assembly facility outside Cleveland. Opened in 1974, that plant employs over 1800 and covers 3.7 million square feet.
Röchling is planning a new production line for engine and body undershields, including injection molding machines. The presses will also be molding grill shutter systems, a new technology used to improve the aerodynamic properties and heat management and control of vehicles. The company has 55 locations worldwide, with sales exceeding $1.3 billion.
Röchling Glastic Composites unit has a location in Cleveland. Elsewhere in the U.S., the company has operations in Texas (Dallas), California (Ontario), Pennsylvania (Mt. Pleasant), and Wisconsin (Kimberly), in addition to its Duncan, SC headquarters. —PlasticsToday Staff